Good Memories on a Sad Day.
My grandmother, a woman who made up a sizeable chunk of the center of my universe, passed away a year ago today. It’s making me a little blue, but mostly it’s that same feeling that I’ve had repeatedly over the last year. How is it possible that the world kept turning without her in it? I mean, really. I spent most of my life not thinking that was possible. And I suppose, in little ways, it doesn’t spin quite the same anymore.
My grandma, Ethel Baby, was a force. It occurred to me just the other day that even though I always thought of her as a married woman and mother, I only ever knew her as a widow with grown children. And so, she seemed very…exciting. And free spirited. And fun. She traveled all over the world when I was young. I especially remember a cruise to Greece, and a trip with girlfriends to New Orleans. Man was I bent that she didn’t take me on that NOLA trip. Then there were the frequent trips in her RV with her Good Sam group. She drove that little motor home until she was almost 90. And I got to go with her so often, the group just seemed like add-on grandparents to me. Ethel Baby was an excellent driver (according to her), and fantastic camper cook (according to everyone), and a veritable fishing sensei (according to me.)
She had a great group of girlfriends who played cards and drank highballs. Sometimes they would have grown up slumber parties, and I would always get to go. We would stay up until the wee hours playing hand after hand of spite and malice. If Ethel lost too many times she would denounce the deck of cards as unlucky and throw it in the trash. She taught me how to play gin rummy as soon as my hands were big enough to hold three cards. She never. Not once. Let me win.
I have cousins, all boys. And I know that my grandmother loved them all. Esp. the youngest three. But I also know that I was probably her favorite person in the whole universe, and that is just the way it is. Sorry boys. When Sweet Pea was born, I think she may have nearly edged me out of favored human status. But not by much.
Ethel Baby was in good health for most of her 96 years. It really wasn’t until the last couple of days that she was out of it more than she was with it. But on the last morning, she woke up for about 20 minutes. Just long enough to share a snack with Sweet Pea and tell me how much she loved me. I told her how much I loved her too. We didn’t need to say it, but the fact that we got to will always be one of my most treasured and special memories.
Damnit I miss her. Every single day. Anyway, here’s a kiss for you Grandma. I love you! XOXO